Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has encouraged rising Tory star Rory Stewart to join his party.
Mr Stewart was knocked out of the Conservative leadership race on Friday having been the standout candidate in the first stage of the contest.
He only recently took up the cabinet post of international development secretary.
Mr Cable told Mancunian Matters: “I think he would probably be more comfortable than he is with them. Certainly there are quite a lot of Tories in that position and I’m already talking to some of them.
“Some of them will move, I don’t know about him. They are two parties under the same roof and I think it’s going to split them.”
I didn’t want to damage my friend and neighbour by being too supportive while he was still in the contest. I can now say that Rory has brought disarming honesty, good humour and decency to the campaign…and that he really doesn’t belong in the same party as the others! https://t.co/a9tMTZTz1X
— Tim Farron (@timfarron) June 19, 2019
Mr Stewart gained an unlikely following during the leadership race, especially on social media. Having made it so far in the race, he failed to gain the support of enough Conservative MP’s to take him into the next round.
An area where he clashed with his leadership rivals was on the prospects of leaving with a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
He Tweeted: “You cannot get a No Deal Brexit through Parliament. No Deal Brexit is just a recipe for more uncertainty and delay.”
Speaking after falling out of the contest, he said his ‘no-deal’ Brexit warnings were “truths people weren’t quite ready to hear”.
The Liberal Democrats recently had former Labour MP, Chuka Umunna, join their ranks after his failed attempt to set up another centre ground party, Change UK.
The new party failed to elect any MEPs at the recent European elections.
Mr Cable also welcomed others from Change UK to join Umunna in defecting to the Lib Dems. He said: “There are others in that group who we have very high regard for. We are talking to them and we are working with them.”